The family of Jacob Miller and Maria Bechler has been extensively researched and documented while still in Europe by Neil Ann Stuckey Levine. This family left France and came to the United States in the early 1800's. Some of the family's children were born in France, and some were born in Pennsylvania and Ohio. While most of the children can be easily traced, Anna Miller, who was born in about 1821, is more elusive. Although it was known by researchers that a child of Jacob and Maria named Anna did exist, very little solid information on her other than a married surname of Smith and a place of residence in 1873 were known. This Anna had not been connected to a rumor that that the daughter of Jacob Miller had "run off with a train man". Thus, for many years Anna Miller, the wife of John Souder, has been disconnected form Anna Miller, the daughter of Jacob and Marie Miller. The current genealogical work by Cara Steiner, The Search for Anna: Using Frayed and Severed Threads to Reweave the Tapestry of a Family, published in Mennonite Family History, Volume XXVIII, Number 3, July 2009, Pages 107-127, describes the merger of these two Annas and provides additional information on the families of Anna's children.
Anna Miller, the subject of the article, is still hard to track and resolve. Her birth place and date is not firmly fixed. Her first marriage to John Souder, which took place at about age 16, has never been documented. Her subsequent marriage to Christian Riegsecker, was frought with pain and divorce. Her marriage to Adam Smith is known only from unrelated court documents. Similarly, Anna may have had other partners or spouses, and it is uncertain who the father of her last child, Emma Smith, really was. Additionally, after 1874, Anna, who was living in Kosciusko County, Indiana, is found in the 1880 census as Anna Souder, and then she simply disappears. Whether she dies, moves away, or remarries is unknown to the authors.
Fortunately, Anna's children led more stable lives. They can be found and tracked. They can be documented. They can be re-associated with each other. The current work proves that even when families are torn apart they can some times be reassembled. Likewise, by consolidating the two Annas, the family of Jacob Miller and Maria Bechler can now be given a measure of closure. While there are still many more questions remaining to be answered about all of the people involved, Anna Miller, the wife of John Souder, Christian Riegsecker and Adam Smith, has finally been given a parental link.
For additional genealogic information on the families of Jacob and Maria Miller, and more particularly on the family of Anna Miller Souder Riegsecker Smith, see the
Miller Family File (PDF,
Adobe Acrobat Reader required) Approximately 200 pages.
John Souder & Anna Miller Family File (PDF) Extracted from the file above for easier use. 113 pages.
Miller Family Data (PDF) Presented in a different fashion. 19 pages.
Cara Steiner (magazine article author)
Bruce Arnold (research assistant & web site data owner and manager) - firstname.lastname@example.org
* * * This web site is still under construction. Changes may take place at any time. Additional data may exist.* * *
The authors would like to thank Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) for hosting this site.